By Chioma Onuegbu
Uyo—PRIMARY School teachers in Akwa Ibom State have joined their counterparts across the country to call on the National Assembly to exclude the funding and management of primary education in its ongoing move to approve autonomy for local government administration.
The teachers in the state, who made the call yesterday, during a peaceful demonstration to the Government House, Uyo, lamented the untold suffering they passed through when they were under the local government administration.
Addressing the rally, state Chairman of Nigeria Union of Teachers, NUT, Etim Ukpong, said even though Akwa Ibom State wing of the union kicked against being under local government administration, they were, however, in support of giving autonomy to the third tier of government.
He said: “What the primary school teachers are saying is that, in trying to give autonomy to local governments, the National Assembly should remove the funding and management of primary education and even the entitlements of primary school teachers from councils and hand them over to the states or federal government.
“The position of the NUT comes from two very fundamental reasons. Number one, history will remind Nigerians of adult age of terrible experiences when autonomy was given to local government councils. We remember that across the country, primary school teachers were owed salaries from 12 full months to 36 months.”
One of the demonstrating teachers, Mr. Isaac Bassey, said, “Yes it is within the Nigerian constitution that primary school teachers are supposed to be under the pay roll of the local government but we are saying that we don’t want that.
“Our reason is that for some time now that we have been receiving regular salary, it is because our money comes from Federal and State governments unlike when we were under local government administration.”
Secretary to the State Government, Mr. Etekamba Umoren, who spoke on behalf of Governor Udom Emmanuel, assured them that he will pass their grievances to the appropriate authority, adding that the present administration was committed to the welfare of teachers in the state.